http://www.europeanpassport.eu

In 2006 the Portuguese Government launched a series of ongoing reforms known as the SIMPLEX programme. Their overall aim was to make everyday life easier for individual citizens and businesses by reducing bureaucratic red tape, cutting costs, and extending ICT to a wide range of public services. So far it has proved effective and popular; and it is one of the reasons why the Golden Residence Permit procedure is so easy.

The original programme consisted of 757 initiatives, 80 per cent of which have now been fully implemented. These initiatives were proposed by civil servants, businesses, professional associations, and ordinary citizens, and consequently they address a wide range of issues across the board in terms of both central and local government. Therefore they will concern you before and after you have obtained your European passport.

In general the aims of the programme are to simplify laws and procedures; maximise the number of procedures that can be done online; reduce the amount of certification; consolidate existing legal rules; and facilitate access to public services.

A particularly useful aspect of these moves towards e-government is the online publication of the Portuguese Official Gazette, or Diáro da Republica. The gazette publishes laws, decree laws, and decisions of the Constitutional Court and is available to everyone via a PDF format for free at www.dre.pt. At the moment this is only available in Portuguese.

However, because Portugal is a member of the European Union, the same information is published online in the Official Journal of the European Union. This is also available free, in a PDF format, at www.eur.lex.europa.eu and is translated into all the other 23 official languages of the EU. So any legal changes that could affect you, your family, or your business are always just a click away.